The group first announced the ‘ABBAtars’ tour in 2017, with the shows set to go ahead in 2019. In 2018, ABBA revealed that they were recording new material for the first time in 35 years, also slated for release in 2019 (and then in 2020). Neither the tour nor the two new tracks materialised.
In a new interview with The Times, songwriter Björn Ulvaeus has promised that the avatar tour will go ahead next year – and, as a reward for fans being so patient, ABBA have recorded not two but five new songs, which they will premiere at the reunion shows.
The tour will feature holograms of each ABBA member, which Ulvaeus said were created by photographing the artists “from all possible angles”. He explained: “They made us grimace in front of cameras. They painted dots on our faces, they measured our heads.”
Although Ulvaeus said the group “had fun” being back in the studio together, he explained that none of them – who are all in their 70s – wanted to tour themselves. “We never were (keen to tour), really,” he told The Times. “We had a 10-year career and out of that, we may have toured six months.”
Speaking about how the music might be different this time around, Ulvaeus said of Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad: “Their voices are about one tone lower, perhaps. (But) it still sounds very much ABBA.”
Of the five new tracks that are set to arrive next year, two have been confirmed: “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down”. “One of them is a pop tune, very danceable,” Ulvaeus revealed in 2018. “The other is more timeless, more reflective. That is all I will say. It is Nordic sad, but happy at the same time.”
Look back at Dazed’s 2018 exploration of the dark side of ABBA’s euphoric pop here.